Unjust Enrichment — California Courts Are Split as to Whether It States a Separate Cause of Action

Cortez v. New Century Mortgage Corp., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13469 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 3, 2012):

California courts are split as to whether there is an independent cause of action for unjust enrichment. Baggett v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 582 F. Supp. 2d 1261, 1270-71 (C.D. Cal. 2007) (applying California law). One view is that it is a general principle underlying various legal doctrines and remedies. McBride v. Boughton, 123 Cal. App. 4th 379, 387 (2004). Another view is that it is a cause of action and its elements are receipt of a benefit and unjust retention of the benefit at the expense of another. Lectrodryer v. SeoulBank, 77 Cal. App. 4th 723, 726 (2000). Determining whether it is unjust for a person to retain a benefit may involve policy considerations. First Nationwide Sav. v. Perry, 11 Cal. App. 4th 1657, 1663 (1992). For instance, "a customary way of regarding a particular type of transaction may justify the inference that the payor has assumed the risk of mistake." Id.

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